Focus on your strengths, too!

Sorry for the lack of non-announcement posts here. It is a bit of a challenge to stay consistent, and we are thinking about way to crowd-source the blog to make the content here more frequent. Stay tuned. Now, on to the post.

A lot of the time, students (and instructors) focus only on weaknesses. In the business world, we hear this euphemistically called “opportunities”, but we really know what that means.

This is certainly valid. The goal is to become a more well-rounded individual at whatever endeavor. However, there is also merit to the idea that we should also focus on strengths. Why would we focus on strengths as well?

I was introduced to this theory at my non-karate job. It is a book called Now, Discover Your Strengths. Its premise is that we are all born with affinities and talents that do not change over time, and facilitate the learning of new skills that align with those talents and affinities easier than those who lack them.

For example, I am very strong in analytical skills, detail-orientation, and routine. Is it not surprising, then, that I am very strong in hyung? Forms are all about memorization, executing techniques, and performing the same set of steps over and over again. So for me, learning new forms is very easy and very enjoyable.

On the other hand, the weakness I have had my entire karate career has been sparring. This may not be apparent in any given class since I am usually the only adult in the Teen & Adult class, but it is true. Back when I was a color belt and 1st and 2nd dan before I joined DFK, the situation was exactly the opposite – I was the only teen in an adult black belt class. Sparring was something difficult for me. I was prone to, and I still tend to use, defensive strategies. I am, though, always working on my sparring as often as I am working on my forms. I look for ways to employ offensive strategies more often.

The point of recognizing your strengths and weaknesses and focusing on them both is to more effectively utilize a person’s talents (by focusing on strengths) while at the same time improving the greatest point of weakness. In this way, training, or non-karate work, will not become steadily more demoralizing as time marches on. Martial artists, and people in general, are far more productive when they enjoy what they do.

What about you? What are your strongest and weakest areas in Tang Soo Do? And ask yourself – do you (and the instructors) focus on your strengths too?

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